Do you ever get a little nervous when you have to drive near a big truck when you’re on the highway? What about encountering a fleet of them in traffic and having to duck and weave around? We’ve all seen news reports about highway accidents where a truck has caused some serious damage to other vehicles and their drivers. When you’re dealing with that level of speed and traffic, trucks are unable to react as fast to happenings on the road. Therefore, it can be a dangerous game.
Thankfully, the recent EU Truck Platooning Challenge could signal safer times for all. If you don’t know what truck platooning is, you’re not alone – it’s a system being developed that uses new technology so that trucks can communicate wirelessly with each other and apply autonomous driving techniques to make the roads safer. When fleets of trucks are on the road together, platooning will ensure that there are smaller gaps between them and that they will travel at the same speeds, while also using the slipstream from the truck in front to save on fuel.
Most importantly, however, is that this technology will allow the truck to respond more quickly to changes on the road than a driver alone would be able to. Trucks communicate through Wi-Fi so that drivers can talk to each other and see video of what’s ahead on the road, regardless of their position in the pack. Radars also help the trucks automatically detect when a vehicle in front is slowing down, so it can adjust accordingly.
The EU Truck Platooning Challenge was created by Rijkswaterstaat, a Dutch company responsible for the roads and waterways in the Netherlands, which saw groups of trucks from all over Europe platooning to the city of Rotterdam over a number of days. The aim was to raise awareness for platooning technology so that this can quickly be employed by truck companies everywhere, making our roads safer for all.